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Leicestershire Finally Win A County Championship Game

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It’s been a long time coming for Leicestershire but they finally won a four day game. Having gone over two years without a win, they beat Essex by six wickets on a nervy final morning at Chelmsford, led by Angus Robson with the bat after veteran bowler Charlie Shreck took five yesterday, including his 500th first class wicket.

The result is the work of a group of cricketers who have been through the ringer in recent seasons and with a brighter future predicted, The Sports Lowdown takes a look at Leicestershire over the past two years.

The 2014/15 winter probably saw the Grace Road side at their lowest ebb. A disastrous 2014 season had been further decimated with the loss of younger players such as Shiv Thakor (Derbyshire), Nathan Buck (Lancashire) and Josh Cobb (Northants) and it was mooted that the county only had a few seasons left as a first class side.

Finally, enough was enough and since then it has been all change at Grace Road, with Wasim Khan installed as CEO taking on one of the toughest roles in cricket today and a far change from his role at the Chance To Shine Foundation.

First saw the removal of longtime head coach Phil Whitticase with the club needing a different direction and in came former Aussie international and former Foxes player Andrew McDonald as Head Coach.

Also coming into the club were overseas stars Clint McKay, for all formats of the game, and World Cup finalist Grant Elliott of New Zealand for the T20’s, whilst Umar Akmal is lined up as a replacement for when they head off for international duty.

The fans have been buoyed by the quality of signings too and have started to flock back to Grace Road with over 4,000 there for a recent T20 game. The vibe around the club has started to buzz again and though there is still along way to go, the signs are bright for a positive future.

Early season four day games had seen a chance for victories though they fell agonisingly short. But it was coming and against Essex it all came together perfectly with the old (Shreck, Cosgrove and McKay) working with the young (Robson, Raine and Hill), with all those in between doing their jobs.

Khan has a big role to play in the clubs future and he has talked passionately about embracing the multicultural diversity of the Leicestershire landscape. Indeed the majority of members continue to be from a white background but initiatives are in place to attract fans from other cultures to the club.

The former county cricketer CEO has also been able to attract the youngsters to the game, as well as families and kids go free days opening the opportunity to see new fans get involved with the club.

As one of the smaller counties, it is imperative that success on the field is needed to keep the new generation of fans interested and the increased attendance at T20 games in the early part of the season shows the club are beginning to make an effect.

Twitter and Facebook posts have seen the clubs profile on the rise and this weekend they host the touring New Zealand side with large numbers of fans expected to see stars such as Brendon McCullam and Tim Southee.

Whatever the future holds in both the short term and the long term, Leicestershire certainly seem to be heading on the right track and one win won’t make a summer but foundations are seemingly being built and with positive steps both on and off the field, it could be a brighter future at Grace Road.

English Cricket Leicestershire Cricket

About Andy Moore

Andy is Chief Editor of The Sports Lowdown and a sports journalist by profession having written for both print publications such as The Sun, The Rugby Paper as well as various online digital sites such as The Aviva Premiership, The Women's Super League plus many many more.

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